Balling with A College Baller

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Anthony Hom

Rebeca Morel

Height: 5”6’

Eye color: Dark Brown

Hair color: Black

Birthday: 4/27/1982

1. When did you start playing basketball?

I started playing basketball in elementary school in the third grade. I played with a neighborhood league and they introduced me to a youth basketball [team]. I trained with them and I continued to play until I got to high school where I played on my high school team. All the while, I was playing after school and summer ball with the Henry Street Settlement down on the Lower East Side. I continued basketball with my high school team, the High School for Environmental Studies, and I played there for four years

2. How was the experience of playing college basketball?

Playing college basketball was a dream; the one goal I had as a ball player was wanting to play in college. I was given that opportunity at Mount Holyoke College and it was demanding. Mount Holyoke was academically very rigorous, and so combining that with basketball was definitely a challenge. But I made some longlife friends, including my coach whom I still connect with to this day. We also got to travel a little bit. It was Division III, but we really had a good time.

3. Do you have any tips for anyone who wants to play college basketball?

You have to be dedicated. You have to be dedicated to your craft. Work on your skills constantly, and I think it’s a matter of reaching out. There are so many coaches, so many teams, so many colleges, but they can’t go everywhere. If you’re a serious student-athlete and you want to play college ball, reach out to the schools you’re interested in and send them videos of you playing your entire game—not just highlights so they can get a sense of the athlete you are. Fill out the questionnaires, use social media, and make sure you market yourself to the schools you are interested in.

4. How did your own recruiting process go?

So I reached out to the schools I was applying to. When I knew I wanted to play basketball and I knew what kind of schools I wanted to go to, I sent the coach an e-mail and I filled out the online questionnaire. The coach reached back and said when you get on campus, come to my office and meet with me. So that was after I was accepted. But when I was in high school, I was being recruited by the Stevens Institute of Technology. [The coach there] was my AU coach, so he really wanted me to go there, but I wanted to go farther away from home. After I reached out to the campus, the coach invited me to some preseason workouts and that’s how I was able to join the team.

5. What position did you play and what were the skills you were always trying to improve at?

I played the 2-3; I was the shooting guard/small forward but mainly the 2. I tried to become a better shooter. I considered myself a defensive specialist and I hustled. I would go after every loose ball and I would play some defense, but I was not a confident shooter. I would go backdoor and always hit the backdoor cut and get the layups, but I would pass before I would shoot. That’s what I would have worked on a little more.

6. Did you continue to play basketball after college?

I played after college a little bit when I was working, and so after college, I coached. I played with my team for the first maybe five to six years and then taught. I would play with my students. I’ll jump into a game of pickup here and there. But competitively on any adult leagues? No, not anymore. I will give someone some challenges in the gym, though.

7. Funniest memory?

In practice, I took the most impossible shot. I don’t know to this day how it went in. It did not not have an arch; it literally went horizontal and into the basket. It was silly, it was crazy, and that was the silliest moment I’ve had.

8. Proudest memory so far?

We played a really tough team—the top team in our division—and it was down to the wire. We were down by a few baskets. I struggled with free throws as a ball player and I managed to make a drive to the basket, get fouled, and make the two free throws in order to get it into overtime. That was the highlight of my career.

Drink of Choice: Lemonade and flavored seltzer, mix the two together and it’s a home run

Favorite food: Pizza; Supreme with onions, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, and the little black olives

Motto to live by: Be kind, always be kind and smile

Fun fact: I have fifty two aunts and uncles